Published: June 9, 2020 8:50:37 pm
Ever since coronavirus took over the world, mankind has been living under a lockdown. For almost two months, countries have gone under strictly restricted movement phase-wise, disrupting the normal lifestyle of people and this has impacted the health of many children negatively. “The tragic COVID-19 pandemic has collateral effects extending beyond direct viral infection,” said Myles Faith, PhD, childhood obesity expert and co-author of the study.
According to a study published in University at Buffalo research, they have examined 41 overweight children under confinement throughout March and April in Verona, Italy. They studied the behaviour pattern of children during the lockdown and compared it with their previous pattern. According to the study, the children slept an extra half hour per day, spent nearly five hours per day in front of the screen and dramatically increased their consumption of red meat, sugary drinks and junk foods. Their physical activity decreased drastically,
The study was led by Steven Heymsfield, MD, professor at the Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center; and Angelo Pietrobelli, MD, professor at the University of Verona in Italy. “Children and teens struggling with obesity are placed in an unfortunate position of isolation that appears to create an unfavourable environment for maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviours,” added Faith.
The study also found that children and adolescents gain more weight during the summer vacation than during the school year. The researchers surveyed around 41 children and teenagers with obesity in Verona, Italy. “Recognising these adverse collateral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown is critical in avoiding the depreciation of hard-fought weight control efforts among youths afflicted with excess weight,” commented Faith, chair and professor of counselling, school and educational psychology in the UB Graduate School of Education.
Reportedly, this lifestyle data of children and teenagers regarding diet, activity, and sleep was collected three weeks into Italy’s mandatory national lockdown and compared to data on the children gathered in 2019. “School environments provide structure and routine around mealtimes, physical activity and sleep — three predominant lifestyle factors implicated in obesity risk,” said Faith.
“Depending on the duration of the lockdown, the excess weight gained may not be easily reversible and might contribute to obesity during adulthood if healthier behaviours are not re-established. This is because childhood and adolescent obesity tend to track over time and predict weight status as adults,” said Faith.
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